We use cookies to make this site as useful as possible. Read our cookie policy or ignore.

Mission statements can energise companies

29 June 2018 by Henry Ker

Mission statements can energise companies

A clear mission can go to the heart of business operations

Companies are usually run with a clear mission and purpose. These are often simple, but incredibly ambitious – some are conveniently vague.

Google’s is to ‘Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’, Amazon’s is ‘to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online’, while Ikea’s is ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’.

Some you may struggle to link back to the service they actually provide (take Starbucks’ ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit’, for example).

But are these just pithy soundbites or do they actually sit at the heart of the way the business operates?

This month’s cover interview, with Niamh O’Sullivan of Cancer Research UK – an organisation with a similarly ambitious and concise vision, but one that is very real: ‘to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured’.

She spoke to me about the energy at the charity and how ‘the people here are really committed to the mission of the organisation: that by 2034, three out of four patients survive cancer. It is a powerful message that motivates our staff in their everyday work.’

Underpinning all of this are the staff, volunteers, researchers, fundraisers and the organisation’s governance. As O’Sullivan explains, ‘Good governance underpins an effective organisation that has a well-developed strategy and is focused on its objectives … Good governance is a virtuous circle.’

Oft-neglected, the communication process around an organisation’s mission and how their systems support it is also improving. We have a feature from GSK and Unilever, joint winners of Sustainability Disclosure of the Year at the ICSA Awards 2017, where they take us through how they bring their corporate values to life through reporting.

As Jonny McCaig of Unilever explains, ‘[the company’s purpose] is a driving force behind how we work’.

With the public increasingly interested in how organisations are run, as much as the end result, this communication process is now a vital part of stakeholder engagement. Hopefully, good governance will help ensure many missions are ultimately achieved.

Henry Ker is editor of Governance and Compliance

LATEST ARTICLES

Interview: David Halpern

Interview: David Halpern

15 April 2019

The chief executive of the Behavioural Insights Team talks about how psychological insights and small changes can help companies to make big gains. Read more...

Taking Steps

Taking Steps

15 April 2019

Robust corporate governance drives transparency and a distinct, underlying rationale behind every decision a company takes. Read more...

Cheating Ourselves

Cheating Ourselves

15 April 2019

US college bribery scandal shines a light on the price parents are willing to pay for their childrens’ education. Read more...

Farewell to Failures

Farewell to Failures

15 April 2019

Will the CMA’s investigation into funeral pricing be a death knell for poor governance in the sector?. Read more...

Dual Elements

Dual Elements

11 April 2019

The CMA and Furman Review propose wide-ranging reforms to UK competition law. Read more...

Banning so called ‘NDAs’?

Banning so called ‘NDAs’?

11 April 2019

After multiple scandals and the popularity of social media movements regarding sexual harassment, confidentiality clauses are being questioned. Read more...

Digital Age

Digital Age

11 April 2019

Board portals and board pack software packages allow secure access to company documents and provide a number of key benefits. Read more...

Crashing Down

Crashing Down

11 April 2019

There has been many auditing, reporting and governance reviews – but will they be any more effective this time around?. Read more...

Staying Aligned

Staying Aligned

11 April 2019

Compliance is a vital part of ensuring that organisations moves in the right direction, while creating added business value. Read more...

Alison Chan: I believe in transparency as a tool of good governance

Alison Chan: I believe in transparency as a tool of good governance

11 April 2019

Winner of the Governance Professional of the Year at the ICSA Awards 2018, Alison Chan discusses her route into the profession, her successes thus far and the main challenges she has encountered. Read more...

Have your say

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisements